MLB Authentic Memorabilia: Jharel Cotton 08/14/2017

I went to an Oakland Athletics game on September 26th and I picked up another MLB Authentic baseball. This time I got a ball from pitcher Jharel Cotton. The game was on August 14, 2017 against the Kansas City Royals.

I chose this ball because Jharel Cotton is one of my top two favorite pitchers on the A’s right now. He was bounced around a little bit this year between AAA Nashville and Oakland. He has started to come around as of late and I think he is going to be a solid starter next year.

This ball had a lot of “life” in it. It comes from the Top of the 6th inning and was used against three different batters. The Authentication details are below.

Cotton JC366237 Details

The first batter was Jorge Bonifacio, who struck out on a 2-2 count. Next was Alcides Escobar who hit an infield single on the second pitch. Finally this ball was popped up to second base by Alex Gordon. Both the single and the pop up was fielded by Chad Pinder. Again there are a lot of details in the Authentication which is one of the things I love about these items.

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2017 Topps Heritage High Number Hobby Box Recap

The other day I opened a hobby box of 2017 Topps Heritage High Number. Over the past couple of years Heritage has become one of my favorite series to open. I enjoy all of the Heritage including the Heritage Minor set. The nice thing about the Heritage High Number is that the set is smaller, 225 cards (including short prints), so there is a higher percentage of set completion from a single box.

This particular set picks up where the Topps Heritage leaves off. The base set is card number 501-700 and the last 25 (numbers 701-725) are short prints. There are 24 packs per box and each pack has 9 cards. Every hobby box comes with a topper and a hit. The topper is either a 3-card Ad Panel, 1968 Original Buyback or a Poster. The hit is either a relic card or an autograph card.

Here are some stats for this box:

Base Cards (501-700): 191 cards, no duplicates = 95.5% complete
Short Prints (701-725): 8 cards, no duplicates = 32% complete
Total Set (501-725): 199 cards = 88.4% complete

Based on the set completion percentage alone, there is no need to buy a second hobby box, unless you are chasing hits. Notable Rookie Cards in this set are: Cody Bellinger, Ian Happ and Matt Olson.

Fortunately, I pulled all 12 Oakland Athletics cards:

Notable inserts:
Chrome
Base: Koda Glover 558/999
Refractor: Kyle Freeland 453/568

Inserts
Now and Then: Aaron Judge
Now and Then: Andrew Benintendi
Nolan Ryan Highlight: Breaks Strikeout Record

2017 HHN Inserts

Parallel and Variations
Action Image Variation: Brandon Phillips
Blue Border: Josh Reddick (not serial numbered, but only 50 made)

2017 HHN Parallels

Box Hit
Clubhouse Collection Relic: Masahiro Tanaka

2017 HHN Tanaka

Box Topper
1968 Originals Buyback: Ray Culp.

2017 HHN 1968 Buyback

Other Insets (not pictured)
Rookie Performers (2): Bradley Zimmer; Dansby Swanson

Award Winners (3): Kris Bryant – MVP; Eric Hosmer – ASG MVP; Kris Bryant – Hank Aaron Award

Combo Cards (2): Carlos Correa/George Springer – Houston Hammers; Eric Thames/Domingo Santana – Brewers Bashers

Now and Then (1): Wil Myers – Triple for the Cycle

All in all, this was a fun box to break. Hertiage is known for having many variations, parallels and error cards to chase. Not all of the variations are obvious so you have to look closely at many of the cards to make sure you are not missing anything. Check out Cardboard Connections’s Heritage High Number Variation Guide for more info.

With the high percentage of set completion and the variations to chase, I believe this box is worth the money.

Have you bought any 2017 Topps Heritage Minors? Whether it is a single pack, retail Blaster Box or a Hobby Box, comment below and let me know what you think of this set!

Post-Draft Top 20 Prospects

Now that the signing deadline for the 2014 June Draft has passed the Top 20 Prospects have been updated by MLB.com. There are many new faces on the Oakland Athletics list as well and a few that have moved up the ranks based on their performance so far this season.

New to the list are 2014 Draft Picks Matt Chapman (No. 4), Brett Graves (No. 13) and Daniel Gossett (No. 14).  Also new to the list are Ryon Healy (No. 18) and Jaycob Brugman (No. 20). Aaron Shipman (No. 19) makes a return to the list for the first time since 2012 with his breakout season under the radar in Stockton.

Notable jumps on the list are Bruce Maxwell who moves from No. 14 to No. 10. Chad Pinder makes the jump from No. 15 to No. 6. Seth Streich makes the biggest jump moving from No. 18 to No. 8 with his All-Star season with the Stockton Ports.

Off the list are B.J. Boyd, Dylan Covey, Chris Kohler, Miles Head, Arnold Leon and Dustin Driver. Boyd and Covey are having strong seasons, so they are not far off the list. Meanwhile Kohler and Head have been battling injuries and could possibly make a return to the list in the next season or so as they return to form.

1. Daniel Robertson
2. Matthew Olson
3. Renato Nunez
4. Matt Chapman
5. Dillon Overton
6. Chad Pinder
7. Raul Alcantara
8. Seth Streich
9. Max Muncy
10. Bruce Maxwell
11. Bobby Wahl
12. Nolan Sanburn
13. Brett Graves
14. Daniel Gossett
15. Tucker Healy
16. Michael Ynoa
17. Billy Burns
18. Ryon Healy
19. Aaron Shipman
20. Jaycob Brugman

To be eligible for the list the player must have rookie eligibility.  Players cannot exceed 130 at bats or 50 innings pitches with a Major League club.  Also the player cannot be on the active roster for more than 45 days during the 25 player limit period.

Top 20 Prospects – Updated July 2014

Following the blockbuster trade that sent the Oakland Athletics top 2 prospects, Addison Russell and Billy McKinney (along with Dan Straily) to the Chicago Cubs for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel the Top 20 Prospect list needed to be updated. Here is the updated list as compiled by MLB.com.

New to the list is Tucker Healy at No. 18 who is having a breakout year pitching at three levels with the Stockton Ports (High A), Midland RockHounds (AA) and currently with the Sacramento River Cats (AAA). Arnold Leon returns to the list at No. 19 as he is hiving a strong year posting a 9-2 record with a 4.47 ERA in 17 games for the River Cats.

This list will be changing over the next few months as Draft Pick from the 2014 June Draft are evaluated and other prospects have their seasons re-evalutaed.

1. Daniel Robertson
2. Raul Alcantara
3. Matthew Olson
4. Renato Nunez
5. Bobby Wahl
6. Dillon Overton
7. Billy Burns
8. Nolan Sanburn
9. Michael Ynoa
10. B.J. Boyd
11. Dylan Covey
12. Chris Kohler
13. Max Muncy
14. Bruce Maxwell
15. Chad Pinder
16. Seth Streich
17. Miles Head
18. Tucker Healy
19. Arnold Leon
20. Dustin Driver

To be eligible for the list the player must have rookie eligibility.  Players cannot exceed 130 at bats or 50 innings pitches with a Major League club.  Also the player cannot be on the active roster for more than 45 days during the 25 player limit period.

Oakland Athletics Top 20 Prospects: 2014 Pre-Season Edition

Here is the list of the Top 20 Prospects of Oakland Athletics coming into the 2014 season as compiled by MLB.com.  To be eligible for the list the player must have rookie eligibility.  Players cannot exceed 130 at bats or 50 innings pitches with a Major League club.  Also the player cannot be on the active roster for more than 45 days during the 25 player limit period.

1. Addison Russell
2. Billy McKinney
3. Daniel Robertson
4. Raul Alcantara
5. Matthew Olson
6. Renato Nunez
7. Bobby Wahl
8. Dillon Overton
9. Billy Burns
10. Nolan Sanburn
11. Michael Ynoa
12. B.J. Boyd
13. Dylan Covey
14. Chris Kohler
15. Max Muncy
16. Ronald Herrera
17. Bruce Maxwell
18. Chad Pinder
19. Miles Head
20. Dustin Driver

One for the more notable jumps came from Billy McKinney who jumped from 7th to 2nd on the list. Interestingly enough Dillon Overton has jumped from 13th to 8th eventhough he is recovering from Tommy John surgery and has not played a game in the Oakland system.

New names on the list include the speedy Billy Burns, Bobby Wahl, Chris Kohler, Ronald Herrera and Dustin Driver. Off the pre-season list are Arnold Leon, Drew Granier, Vicmal De La Cruz, Anthony Aliotti and Blake Hassebrock. The prospects taken off the list are not necessarily any worse than they were last year. This is a highly competitive list and there is not room for everyone.

Ports Extinguish Blaze’s Hot Start

On Monday night the Stockton Ports (3-2) handed the Bakersfield Blaze (4-1) their first loss of the 2014 season. The Ports won by a score of 4 to 1 at Sam Lynn Ballpark in Bakersfield. The Blaze were held to only 2 hits in the first of 28 meetings between the 2 teams this season.

Seth Streich started for Stockton and pitched 5 strong innings. Bakersfield’s only run came in the 5th inning when Marquez Smith hit an RBI double off Streich scoring Kyle Waldrop. Tucker Healy and Nolan Sanburn both pitched 2 scoreless inning securing the victory for Streich.

Stockton’s offense provided 10 hits Monday night. Oakland Athleteics No. 3 Prospect Daniel Robertson led the charge going 2 for 5 raising his average to an impressive .450 in the first 5 games. Chad Pinder, Dusty Robinson and Bruce Maxwell each hit a home run.

This series continues Tuesday night at 7:15 p.m. in Bakersfield as Josh Bowman (0-0, 3.00 ERA) will take the mound for the Ports.

Oakland Athletics Top 20 Prospects

Here is the list of the Top 20 Prospects of Oakland Athletics as compiled by MLB.com.  To be eligible for the list the player must have rookie eligibility.  Players cannot exceed 130 at bats or 50 innings pitches with a Major League club.  Also the player cannot be on the active roster for more than 45 days during the 25 player limit period.

1. Addison Russell
2. Michael Choice
3. Michael Ynoa
4. Renato Nunez
5, Daniel Robertson
6. Matthew Olson
7. Raul Alcantara
8. Billy McKinney
9. Miles Head
10. Nolan Sanburn
11. B.J. Boyd
12. Arnold Leon
13. Drew Granier
14. Dillon Overton
15. Vicmal De La Cruz
16. Max Muncy
17. Chris Bostick
18. Anthony Aliotti
19. Blake Hasebrock
20. Chad Pinder

Each week leading up to Spring Training I will be profiling each of the Top 20 Prospects.

This list is subject to change based on trades, free-agent signings and other roster moves.  I will keep the list updated as best as I can.  The list is current as of October 2, 2013.

Lake Monsters season ends in rain-shortened loss

The Vermont Lake Monsters season wrapped up on Wednesday with a rain-shortened loss to the Staten Island Yankees by the score of 5-2.  Gregory Paulino (2-3, 2.79 ERA) took the loss allowing 1 run on 2 hits while striking out 3 in 1 inning pitched.  Gregory was making just his 1st appearance since July 14th.  Chad Pinder drove in Vermont’s only 2 runs of the game on a 2-run home run in the 4th inning.

Billy McKinney went 0 for 3 in the loss, but in 9 games with the Lake Monsters he was 12 for 34 (.353 average) with 2 doubles, 1 home run and 6 RBIs.

The Lake Monsters ended the season with a 33-43 record.  They started out strong in the 2013 season, however they won only 4 of their last 16 games.